Category Archives: the past

First book out: The Hands-On Life: How to Wake Yourself Up and Save The World.

Longtime Cheapskate readers will recognize lots of the ideas and anecdotes here – thank you for being a great and supportive community all these years. I’m launching the book at Dragonfly Books and will be taking it to Content Books … Continue reading

Posted in community, gardening, self-reliance, the past | Leave a comment

Education and reality.

This weekend I read Tara Westover’s new memoir Educated in one sitting. The story it tells is compelling: raised in a survivalist, fundamentalist-Mormon family in Idaho, Westover first attends school at age seventeen (her first day at Brigham Young University) … Continue reading

Posted in culture, higher education, politics, self-reliance, teaching, the past, women | 2 Comments

John Keats and “the spotted child.”

In one of his famously long, thinking-out-loud journal letters to his brother George and sister-in-law Georgiana, finished and sent in January 1819, John Keats talks about cats: There is another thing I must mention of the momentous kind;– but I … Continue reading

Posted in body, Romanticism, the past, travel | 2 Comments

The museum of the too-good-to-use.

“My mother had a collection of old lace, which was famous among her friends, and a few fragments of it still remain to me, piously pinned up in the indigo-blue paper supposed (I have never known why) to be necessary … Continue reading

Posted in home, spirit, stuff, the past | 1 Comment

“Learn, little cousin:” Seeing with Signorelli.

Something about Christmas mixes emotion and memory like no other time.  This is the hinge of the year, the liminal space where we could step one way or another way, where we can and can’t see what’s coming.  Where we … Continue reading

Posted in art, body, culture, mystery, spirit, the past | Leave a comment

The pleasures of okra.

If I had a dollar for every time somebody, emboldened by my Southern accent, asked me a question about okra — “What is that?” when they see it growing (once somebody asked, “Is that marijuana?”), or “How do you cook … Continue reading

Posted in attention, food, gardening, gratitude, the past, the South | 8 Comments

Your native town, and the world.

“Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires … Continue reading

Posted in art, self-reliance, spirit, teaching, the past, travel, writing | 1 Comment